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Your Christmas drinks questions answered

By sarahhowe, also posted in News on

The festive period is a time when we at Adnams are often asked for advice on the best way to serve our beers, wines and spirits. Adnams' Master Brewer Fergus Fitzgerald Rob ChaseSo we've put together an essential guide to getting the most out of your Adnams drinks this Christmas with helpful hints and tips from our Head Brewer Fergus Fitzgerald and our Fine Wine Manager Rob Chase.

Serving Adnams Beers at Home

Poly Pins and Mini Casks

  • Our polypins and mini casks have fresh live beer in them so keep your mini cask cool during storage, garage temp is ideal, or just outside the back door as long as it doesn’t freeze.
  • 24 hours before you wish to serve your polypin or mini cask move it to the location you wish to serve it from to allow the beer inside to settle.
  • If the mini cask has been stored a little warm, before you open the vent at the top, pull out the tap at the bottom and take a 20mls or so out to prevent beer showers.
  • If the beer is very lively have a teatowel ready to cover the top of the cask until it has calmed down, in extreme cases leave the beer to vent in a sink or in the bath with the teatowel over the top, check the bath isn’t occupied first!
  • To serve from the polypin simply turn the tap and pour. For information on how to open and pour from your mini cask visit this blog post or scan the QR on the label to see a video.
Fergus's Top Tip : "If you have a mini cask of Southwold Bitter and Old ale try mixing a half of each, not sure it counts as a beer cocktail but it's still nice."

Bottled Beers

  • Fergus recommends serving dark beers at red wine temperature (10-16°C) and lighter, hoppier beers at white wine temperature (7-10°C).
  • When it comes to food-matching, Fergus says "Match your beer to food as you would with wine, robust food needs a robust beer, delicate flavours need a subtle beer. But overall drink something you enjoy and some beers need to be drunk by themselves, when the elves have gone to bed."
  • Tally Ho or Broadside are great with Christmas pudding, or even better with a cheese board.

Serving Adnams Wines at Home

Rob Chase, our Fine Wine Manager, is perfectly adept at advising how to make the most of your wine this Christmas. Here's his essential tips for the Festive period:

White wine

  • Put the Cava, Prosecco or inexpensive equivalent in the fridge, ready for even the earliest glass of breakfast bucks-fizz; don’t waste your best champagne on this dilution. If you forget to do this on Christmas Eve, all is not lost. Fizz in the freezer for two hours will do the trick, but remember to set a timer!
  • To open your Fizz like a pro hold the cork with one hand and twist the bottle from the base. The cork will then slowly release into your hand, rather shooting across the room towards a poor unsuspecting guest. Less fun perhaps but more fizz in your glass and less on the carpet!
  • Make sure your Christmas Day whites and rosés are in the fridge and remove them half an hour before you wish to serve them. 
  • If space is at a premium, fill a bucket with water and ice, load your bottles in – and leave. No matter how cold they are, within a very short time, they will assume a more moderate, drinking temperature. If this is your fall-back/preferred option, always turn the bottle upside down a couple of times prior to opening, so the very cold wine at the bottom integrates with the marginally warmer wine at the top. Draw the cork or unscrew thereafter!
  • All whites, fizz and stickies (Sauternes, Muscats, Sherries, Madeira etc) should, as a rule, be chilled.
  • Decant any heavily oaked white wines twenty minutes before serving – it reduces that initial, over-powering influence of wood, allowing the aromas and fruit to come through. If you don't have a decanter then pour the wine into a measuring jug, and then pour back into the bottle.

Red wines

  • Do not serve red wines at room temperature. This is invariably too warm. Never put in the micro-wave, stand on radiator, or bowl of hot water. Red wine is best served when bottle is cool to the touch – ideally at stone floor temperature.
  • Open one hour ahead of drinking, and if young (the wine, not you), decant, then pour back into bottle. This will enhance the aromas and flavours.
  • Older red wines often have sediment and so should be opened and decanted carefully, 30 minutes before broaching – probably into a decanter if you have one to hand. The wine should then be left to warm up, marginally, on the dining room / kitchen table
Rob's Top Tip : "If any wines, red or white, should remain unfinished, they should still be enjoyable the next day, but put the whites back in the fridge or bucket, and the reds in a cool place." We hope that has answered many of the questions that you may face this festive period but if can think or more then please post your question in the comments section below.  Merry Christmas everyone!